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Part Three: The Trial

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My alarm went off, jolting me out of my pleasant slumber. Waking up was confusing based on how good or weird the dream was, which never failed to confuse me. Groggily, I lifted my heavy body out of bed and staggered to my alarm across the room, only tripping twice over piles of clothes and a box of fabric scraps. If I could turn it off at an arm's reach, I would never get out of bed. My phone also stayed across the room too.

I could be honest.

I had no impulse control.

If I had my phone in bed, I would only sleep when I didn't have the strength to hold the blaring screen over my emotionless face. I let the radio play, vaguely listening to the talk show. I picked up my phone and stared at the date. Right. October first.

Rubbing my face, I sobered myself up enough to write a text:

PARKER: [Good Morning]

PARKER: [Let me be the first to commemorate October first as the day we started going out]

PARKER: [Please be gentle with me]

I dropped my phone on my desk and proceeded to get ready. Clothes were just as important to me as someone else's morning prayer, the first cup of coffee or a job or whatever physically/mentally fit people do. Picking out what I was going to wear decided what kind of mood I wanted for the day. Today, I wanted to look fun and flirty.

"I mean," I mumbled with a mental shrug, "Lizzie and I are technically in the honeymoon period, right?' I glanced at my mirror like I was Mary Poppins and my reflection was going to give me a thumbs up or something.

Today, I would wear my white flouncy shirt that was a mix between pirate and Shakespearean (something romantic) and my bell bottoms covered in bleach white stars (something fun). This paired well with my tan ankle boots and a beige coat. In the middle of fixing a top knot, I strolled back over to my phone.

No messages.

Maybe Lizzie didn't wake up as early because she didn't have to catch the bus. This inspired me. With a smirk, I texted her:


PARKER: [If you pick me up on the way to school, I'll buy you coffee. If you don't, I'll tell Camille you're a TERRIBLE girlfriend 😝]

For the last hour of my morning routine, I worked on the Cinderella costumes as much as possible and didn't obsess over the fact Lizzie still hadn't texted me back because I had the hand disease that forced me to send stupid jokes to girls.

In classic fashion, the costumes were outlandish, over-bedazzled and the prettiest eyesores in the world. Something moved, whether it was a feather or a bead, whenever someone touched this thing. It would be as attention-seeking as the stepsisters. However, not a single bauble will be able to outmatch the classic beauty of Cinderella. In theory, if Norah Brady wasn't so heinous. She better be a good actor or this wasn't going to work.

A knock on the door made my head pop up.

"Yeah?" Quickly, I paused the Cinderella soundtrack on my phone.

"Hey," my dad said, easing into the room. He slipped inside and the first things his eyes narrowed in on were my open tubs of design supplies and the scattered reference pictures. He raised a brow. "How do you walk around this stuff?"

"Carefully," I muttered and picked up the dress, slipping it back over the form. "Did you want something?" I asked, my hair prickling. He wouldn't stop staring at all my things, the quilt I made from old t-shirts to my framed Broadway posters and the horrible first attempt at a DIY macramé hanging art.

Dad shrugged, and then adjusted his glasses. "Just checking if you wanted something specific for dinner. We're thinking about watching a movie too if you want to join. Maybe you can even bring some of this stuff into the living room and work there."


He always called it stuff, like it was junk or nothing important.

"I'm actually going to hang out with Camille," I said and walked to my closet. "I'll probably spend the night."

"Oh, okay." He nodded, obviously disappointed. He couldn't decide what he wanted more, time to hang out with me or that I was willing to make friends here. Of course, I already knew what I was going to wear, but I still hummed and moved hangers to the side like I was deep in thought.

Finally, I asked, "Did you need something else?"

"No, just have a good time. Stay safe," he said, but still lingered a few more beats. He closed the door behind him with a long click. My quiet room wasn't as comfortable anymore. The air thickened, making it harder to breathe. It was annoying that I had to feel guilty for not wanting to hang out with my dad. I just... I hadn't forgiven him yet. Not for taking me out of New York. Not for starting World War III with my mom.

I spent a lot of time by myself in my mother's apartment... It was weird to go to the kitchen and always see someone that expected me to start a conversation. I couldn't find my place in this house that didn't want me to be here in the first place. During the summer, when I visited my dad, I stayed in the guest room. I was a guest and I still felt like one.

In the back of my closet was one suitcase I hadn't unpacked.

I laid my phone down again and finished my hair and makeup. There was a celebratory pimple on my chin that might make Lizzie so grossed out she'd immediately break the contract, so I did my best to smother it in my stepmom's foundation. She had no coverage. I hated covering my freckles.

My phone buzzed and relief flooded my veins.

"Finally." I let out a breath. I hurried to my phone, eager to see Lizzie's reaction. I mean, I assumed she'd sent at least an eye roll emoji or something. She didn't. She didn't send anything. An Instagram notification popped up instead. My stomach twisted. Maybe that annoyed her too much.

Backtracking, I texted:

PARKER: [Just kidding! I'll see you at school!]

And just to further embarrass myself, I quickly sent a thumbs up emoji too. That uneasiness sat at the pit of my stomach as I went to my bus stop. Meanwhile, my phone remained silent.


Author's Note

Pardon me while I cringe along with my character. Shout out to all the bad texters (like me)! If you're enjoying the book, leave a comment! If you're eating while reading, tell me what you're snacking on~

Twitter: @AuburnMorrow

Instagram: @auburnmorrowbooks

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